Going to the doctor can be a daunting and expensive task, especially for unexpected treatments. Instead, Marathon Health is hoping to get employers to re-focus on a preventative, patient-first approach to healthcare coverage as it launches in the Cincinnati region.

Marathon Health is opening offices across the area to provide client employees with convenient online scheduling, virtual visits, and services like on-site lab work. There’s a health coach on staff to help with lifestyle changes, and many prescriptions are stocked in the office. If the doctor has to refer someone to a specialist, he or she takes the time to find a provider offering the best mix of cost and quality.

According to Eric Neuville, Marathon vice president of business development, the average number of patients a doctor sees in the local health systems is between seven and eight per hour. “If you went to a restaurant and had to wait 20 minutes to get in and another 20 minutes for a waiter, you had to eat and leave in eight minutes, and you didn’t know the price and whether the quality was good or bad, would you go back?” says Neuville. “The experience with our providers is phenomenal. No waiting in the waiting room or in the exam room, and you get to spend 20-60 minutes with the provider. That’s unheard of in today’s healthcare system.”

Marathon doesn’t take the place of traditional employer-sponsored health insurance but is an addition to existing plans, focusing on prevention and primary care. Neuville says client employees report fewer specialty and emergency room visits as well as reduced chronic illnesses, adding up to $1 billion in total savings. Employers often see results within a year, he says, but significant savings start once employees switch their primary care physician to Marathon. “The employers who make this investment have wellness incentives,” he says. “They want you to go to Marathon at least once a year to get your biometric screenings.”

Healthcare’s general lack of time efficiency and lack of price transparency can deter patients from going to the doctor. If they do schedule a visit, they often leave with more questions than answers, a trip somewhere else for lab work, and a stop at the pharmacy. Marathon focuses on using patients’ time more efficiently by having multiple services in one site and providing more time with the doctor.

“We block out time to allow for patients to be seen,” says Bill Klein, M.D., Marathon’s Ohio medical director and a family physician. “More focus on spending time to get to know the patients and their challenges and barriers. Diabetes often takes a multi-step process to get under control, for instance, and that extra time with patients is key.”

Marathon Health entered the Cincinnati market in October and operates four clinics in this region. Other markets include Columbus, Indianapolis, and Charlotte, North Carolina, with expansions announced into Las Vegas and Orlando.

The entire article can be found and read in the Spring 2021 issue of REALM Magazine, The Journal for Queen City’s CEOs